Creative articles about quilting

Old Block Quilt-Along, Part 13: Friendship Knot

Andrea from Quiltmanufaktur and author for the German BERNINA blog is your guide for this fantastic quilt-along over the next 12 months. Together, you will sew classic patchwork blocks and combine them into a sampler. The completed quilt will be traditional, yet modern! The next part has been written and we are delighted that you join this quilt project.

Hi there, I’m glad to see you again! Today is the day I’m going to show you the 13th block in the Old Block Quilt-Along, which is called “Friendship Knot”.

This design comes from Carrie Hall and dates from 1935.

As so often with the other blocks I’ve shown you, the “Friendship Knot” sometimes has different names: “Starry Crown” and “All Hands Around”. For the latter, I found a newspaper article from the Chicago Tribune with the pattern by Nancy Cabot dated December 11th, 1935:


I didn’t manage to find the precise date when this patchwork design was first published. At the end of this blog post, I have included a picture of a quilt with this design, the creation of which is dated to 1850-75. I have mentioned before when talking about other blocks that they were published many times by different authors in slightly different versions. That is also the case here: Ruth Finley featured the design in her book “Old Patchwork Quilts” in 1929. There is a 1935 version by Laura Wheeler made from scraps. And Nancy Cabot’s version, as shown above, also from 1935.

The following quote about this patchwork block comes from Alice Brook: “The friendship knot, a popular quilt, is so named because friends join their scraps together into a block, thereby creating a lasting memory of their friendship. The variety of different scraps used gives the piece a special touch.” (Source: Alice Brooks, Detroit Free Press,  June 27th, 1936, page 336/ Jinny Beyer: The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns)

We are sewing the “Friendship Knot” patchwork block

The “Friendship Knot” is a 10″ block (10.5″ including the seam allowance) and is made using pattern templates.

Download the patchwork templates

For cutting out, I have created two PDF documents to download:

  • The first is a coloring sheet. This allows you to try out colors and designs for this block to see what they look like.
  • And on the second you will find the templates.

On the PDF with the templates, I have put a control square with a side length of 1 inch so that you can check whether your printout of the templates is the right size. It is important to set your print options to “Actual size”.

Here are the downloads:

Friendship Knot” coloring sheet

Friendship Knot” templates

Cutting out the pattern pieces

You will need to cut out the following number of pieces:

  • Template A: 4 x background fabric
  • Template B: 8 x background fabric
  • Template C: 4 x background fabric
  • Template D: 8 x patterned fabric
  • Template E: 4 x patterned fabric
  • Template F: 1 x background fabric
  • Template G: 8 x patterned fabric

Sewing the “Friendship Knot” patchwork block

Sewing curves – frustrating or fun? You have already seen how I sew these pieces on “Cleopatra’s Fan“. Take another look there if you need to refresh your memory! And I want to remind you again about using spray starch.

First, lay out the cut out pieces to give you an overview of where they will be positioned in the block later on. Yes that’s right, Y-seams are also back on the agenda!

The first step is to sew the C pieces made of background fabric onto the curved pieces E. I marked the relevant corners on the back of the pattern pieces with a marker. These are guides indicating how and where to insert pins to secure them in place. I also marked the middle of the relevant templates in order to also pin these in place. 

After sewing the outer background pieces onto the curved piece, the next step is to join it to the middle piece. In this case starting with the two pieces to the left and right.

Now sew the outer diamond pieces as I have already shown several times.

Unlike the “Tulip in Vase”, for example, here the pieces are not sewn together in the middle, but are joined to the corresponding curved piece as shown in the next picture.

Now sew the curved pieces onto the middle piece at the top and bottom. Finally, join on the corner squares. All I’ll say is “Y-seam”…

And this lovely block is now finished!

Imagine, that’s already the 13th block. Lay out or hang up your block so you can take a good look at it. It’s sure to lift your mood :-). And show us all your pieces. There are already an incredible number of wonderful blocks to see in the Community area of the Old Block Quilt-Along. It’s such fun to see all your fantastic, diverse blocks! If you are on Facebook or Instagram, please also post your blocks there and add the hashtag #BERNINAOldBlockSampler to your picture. Under this hashtag, you can also view the full collection of pieces, here on Facebook and here on Instagram. If you like something, it is always nice to not just “like” the picture, but also to leave a short comment.

Examples of Friendship Knot quilts

This quilt dates from 1850-75! In the center, you can see hand-embroidered names, so perhaps it was a wedding gift or a friendship quilt?


(Source: The Quilt Index)

(Source: Illinoise Quilt History)

So, my dears! Now it’s your turn again. Make your own “Friendship Knot” block and post it here on the BERNINA blog in the Community area, on Instagram or Facebook – wherever you want to present your beautiful creations. Don’t forget to tag your picture with the hashtag #BERNINAOldBlockSampler!

New here?

Have you only just discovered the quilt-along? No problem! You can join at any time. Registration is not required, and you can win a BERNINA 570 QE! All the posts will remain permanently available:

In the first post, which was the invitation to participate in the quilt-along, you will find the important initial information about our joint project:

Old Block Quilt-Along – who’s in?

You can find the rest of the blocks from the quilt-along that have already been published here:

Old Block Quilt-Along – overview of all the posts

I’m glad you’re taking part and I hope to see more wonderful pictures of your blocks!

See you soon for the next block,

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